Still open to seeking IMF help: Pakistan

Pakistan has been offered aid worth $6 bn by Saudi Arabia
Pakistan has not dropped the idea of seeking assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) despite Saudi Arabia offering a $6-billion aid package, officials said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this month gave the green signal to Finance Minister Asad Umar to seek an IMF bailout. But the situation changed when Mr. Khan on Monday dashed to Riyadh to attend a Saudi-sponsored investment forum. Mr. Khan’s meeting with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman resulted in the signing of agreement to provide Pakistan $3 billion to support its balance of payments. Riyadh also agreed to give oil worth $3 billion on deferred payments to Islamabad. Sources in the Finance Ministry said that Pakistan needed about $10 billion in the current fiscal year to support its imports and to repay foreign debts. “The idea of seeking IMF support is still on the table and negotiations will be held in the first week of November,” they said. But they said that Pakistan’s bargaining position was strengthened after the Saudi commitments. The sources also said that Mr. Khan would visit China on November 3 and that it was possible to get financial assistance from Beijing to further decrease reliance on IMF bailout.
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